KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica AIDS Support for Life (JASL), says that it will be hosting its annual silent protest on Friday, November 25, 2022 under the theme ‘Unite! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls’.
According to the JASL, the event, which will be staged for the eighth time in Jamaica, is in support of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) which is recognised globally on November 25, each year.
In an effort to increase visibility, JASL said it will have teams of volunteers and staff scattered across the island in high traffic areas with signs while decked out in purple shirts to show their solidarity.
In Kingston, protesters will be at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre, in St Ann at the St Ann’s Bus Park and Ocho Rios Town Centre, Falmouth Square in Trelawny and at the Sam Sharpe Square in St James.
Executive Director at JASL, Kandasi Walton Levermore, shared that the protest plays an integral role in achieving the organisation’s goals:
"Forced sex puts many women and girls at risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Where partners are violent, it renders women powerless to negotiate condom use and increases vulnerabilities. The truth is that violence is a lose-lose for everyone," she explained.
The JASL added that in recent weeks Jamaica has seen an increase in violence against women, which has led to many being murdered. In a 2019 study by the United Nations, Jamaica was rated second in the world for having the most reported murders of women or femicide.
"The statistics continue to be alarming with the latest showing that nearly 15 per cent of all women in Jamaica, aged 15 to 49, who have ever married or partnered have experienced physical or sexual violence from a male partner. It goes on to state that over 18 per cent of women report that they have been pushed or shoved by a male partner and another 16 per cent have been hit with a fist of something that could have caused harm," the JASL said in a statement on Thursday.
At the same time, the JASL said it is encouraging the public to show their support by wearing purple on the day and joining the protest at the location nearest to them.
Jamaica AIDS Support for Life is the oldest and largest AIDS-focused, human rights, non -governmental organisation in the country. Additionally, since 1991 the organisation has been dedicated to preserving the dignity and rights of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and to help with the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS by providing education and other interventions to promote change.